Winter has been roaring in on the peninsula of late, and the Boothbay Region YMCA found a way to help stave off the blues with several recent tennis and pickleball events. Named the “Winter Buster Pickleball and Tennis Festival,” four different events between March 3 and March 12 brought pickleball and tennis enthusiasts of all ages in to the Marylouise Tandy Cowan Fieldhouse.
The events provided an opportunity for year-rounders to meet each other and play together while also kicking off Phase 2 of the A Greater Impact Campaign at the Y. Each event included brief remarks to explain to the players that they would be “Bidding a fond farewell to the dimly lit home of pickleball and tennis as anticipation builds for the renovation project to upgrade the lighting, court surfaces, and track at the Fieldhouse” said Andy Hollon, a Y volunteer and an official USPA Pickleball Ambassador for the Boothbay region.
The four “Winter Buster Festival” events attracted 88 people between the ages of 6 and 79, making for truly intergenerational play. Events included a Friday Fun Tennis Social hosted by Lauren Palmer, a “Turn up the Lights” pickleball tournament, a Triples Tennis Tournament, and a Family Pickleball and Tennis Mashup. The family mashup included three generations from the Tindal family: grandparents Bruce and Nancy, daughter and son-in-law Alexandra and Tim Pinkham, and Graham and Henry Pinkham. “We had so much fun playing all together and also learning new skills with other families and adults. To be able to come in to the Y in the winter and play together was really special,” said Nancy Tindal, an avid tennis and pickleball player.
The March 5 pickleball tournament drew 34 participants who were placed into four separate divisions for a rotating partner round-robin tournament. The top 2 finishers in the “Gherkin” division were Roxanne Smith and Jean Hasch. Winning the “Bread & Butter” division was Chris Goodwin with Bruce Harris finishing second. Taking gold in the "Dill” division was Steve Berger, with Nick Ullo securing silver. And the champion of the “Spicy” division was Dave Cody, with Lauren Palmer finishing as runner-up. In addition to trophies (jars of pickles, naturally) for the top two players in each division, door prizes were drawn as well. Generous sponsors of the tournament, who also provided door-prizes, included Bigelow Labs, Eventide, Janson’s, Maine and Ivy, the Y, and the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens.
Tournament co-hosts, Andy and Brooke Hollon, were joined by a band of volunteers who helped plan and administer the tournament. In addition to the gift baskets provided by the tournament sponsors as door prizes, Brooke and her mother, Nancy Baker, baked and donated a special pickleball cake. Nancy, who hails from Austin, Texas, said, “I love watching all of the players, and maybe someday I'll get out on the court too!”
Racquet sport pros Chantalle Arsenault and Susan Kirby were involved in all of the events and are excited to offer more opportunities for social play when the Fieldhouse is renovated. “We are looking forward to bringing more people together when the Fieldhouse is re-opened,” said Kirby. “We anticipate offering social events as well as opportunities for people to learn tennis and pickleball. It’s exciting to see so many people using the Fieldhouse.” Arsenault continued, “Our youth tennis programs are booming, and the Fieldhouse enables us to train indoors before the kids get outside on the courts. We feel lucky to have such a great facility available for this use, and it will be even better with new lights and lines.”
The Fieldhouse project includes insulating the ceiling for greater energy efficiency, reflection, and noise reduction, installing new LED lights, resurfacing the courts, and refurbishing the track. The resurfacing will include the tennis courts (to be re-lined in USTA colors), eight pickleball courts to accommodate the explosive surge of pickleball interest, and basketball courts with new hash lines, making the Fieldhouse with its elevated track a truly multi-purpose space that meets the many different interests of every age in the community.
An enthusiastic committee of volunteers is working with the Y to fundraise for the Fieldhouse renovations, including Sally Barter, Charlie Britton, Chris Goodwin, Brad Hastings, Andy Hollon, Lauren Palmer and Anna Waldman. Their goal is to raise $450,000 by the end of May toward these improvements, and to date they have raised $130,974. All gifts and pledges will be designated to this project. As an extra incentive, an anonymous couple will match those gifts to go towards the overall A Greater Impact campaign. Gifts can be made via the Y’s website.
“We are very excited about this project; the Fieldhouse was always meant to be a multi-generational and multi-use facility,” said Andy Hamblett, the Y’s CEO. “We are pleased that we finished the first phase of the campaign to renovate the main facility and make important infrastructure improvements to the campus and also to the Bathhouse Pavilion at Camp K. Now we turn our attention to completing the Fieldhouse improvements and then to the needed renovations at the Child Enrichment Center and Camp K’s McEvoy Lodge. We have tremendous momentum and this matching program is a great incentive for people to help the Y and, in turn, help out the community.”
The Fieldhouse will be closed from March 17 to April 21, and the track will be closed in May to complete the renovations.
The Y is planning to hold similar events to the Winter Buster festival when the Fieldhouse is re-opened, with a new series called “Spring Fling.” Look for opportunities to play, have fun, learn a new skill, and connect with other community members at the Y.
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